I’ve been listening to Joseph Prince, as some of you might already know. I’ve read all his books and I’m attending and serving at New Creation Church. Recently, I started listening to Grace Capsule – a series of sermons about the grace of Jesus Christ; what the ‘good’ news is all about; the gospel. I’m on the 6th sermon today, “The New Covenant of God’s I Will’s” (although it’s only my third time listening. Somehow, I thought this was the third sermon in the series).
Something Pastor Prince said interested me. In Hebrews 8, the author writes about the “New Covenant” we have with God. God says:
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deedsb] I will remember no more.”c]Hebrews 8:7-12
In here, we can see that God has replaced the old covenant (the law, in which man works to gain righteousness – the ten commandments, as well as the ceremonial offerings, etc) with a new one. You know, I used to think there was no difference. Heck, I used to not think about any of this at all.
In the old covenant, God expected man to do (or not do) stuff and man gets blessed or cursed depending on what he has and has not done. This is still the typical Christian’s mindset today. We try to be good to other people or do good things, so we get good things in return. The same is true otherwise. We do bad things and bad things happen to us. We call this “Karma.” Some call it the world’s system of merit. This is what we all grew up with. In school, we have to study a lot so we get good grades. When we grow up and start working, we perform well to get promoted. Some of us have to be extra nice to our boss, to get that merit.
This is what man knows to do and he applies it to everything in his life.
However, God knew, even if we don’t, that man, in all his effort and good deeds, is unable to and could not possibly work his way to get all the good things God has in store for him. Not to mention, man could not even dream of saving himself, when he finds out all the charges against him, (you will see this in the old testament of the bible, but I will not be sharing them here, at least, not today because it would branch out to a very long topic) from death. Eternal death, that is. (Romans 6:23)
God is righteous. He could not, and will not break His law. That is contrary to who He is. When the law, the old covenant, was in operation, God could not bless people whenever He pleased. It all depended on if they kept the law and met the requirements. In the same way, God could not spare man from punishment even if He wanted to. There are many examples of this in the days after the law was given. One that stands out to me was Uzzah. He was struck dead after touching the ark of the covenant. He was trying to help carry it. It was a good deed, but was met with punishment.
God is righteous and just, but God is also love. This is where the Cross comes in.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus to die on the Cross. For what, exactly? See here, God did something that would save man without being unjust and unrighteous in His decision. God could have easily forgiven man without sending Jesus to die. But that would make Him an unrighteous God, an unjust ruler. Why does this matter? It matters because, then, the judgement on Lucifer would have been wrong. If God was unrighteous (I speak in human terms) in dealing with men, He would be unrighteous in dealing with Satan. And this matters to us, because then, there will be no wrong, and no right. My simple mind cannot fathom the depths of that earth-shattering thought. Anarchy or singularity is as far as I can think of.
God did something that is both righteous and good. It is both logical and positive with the end result of saving man. He took all of man’s unrighteousness, sins, iniquities, all of man’s wrongs and placed the judgement on one righteous Man and the son of God, for that matter, ruler of the never-ending universe. In the old law, a man’s offence is covered by the sacrificial death of an innocent. However, there was no one innocent in the human race. Even a baby has the blood of a sinner running in his veins. This is why, Jesus came to earth and became human. Himself, the Son of God. He was born of a virgin and there was no sin in His blood.
He did no sin. In Him there was no sin. He knew no sin.
As the perfect sacrifice, Jesus died (even, having died by crucifixion matters to us, but it will be another topic), once and for all, freeing man from the judgement of God’s law, which is death, as well as from all the curses from the old covenant. In the same way, now, because of Jesus, God has given us all the blessings of the righteous person (that righteous person, Jesus, in our place). This is good news. This is the gospel.
Now then, what do we make of this? The good news is, now you don’t shoulder the burden of guilt, shame and condemnation for being unrighteous. The Lord is your righteousness. That means, what? That means, the gap that separates us from God has been Crossed. Pun intended. He is on your side. Whatever you have done and whatever you will do has all been righteously judged at the Cross.
There is so much more to say about this, but I have strayed far, far away from my real topic for this post. Although, now, that seems to be a good thing. This was not what I intended to write but, oh well. Maybe some other day. For now, then, I’ll use this opportunity to share the gospel with you all! <3